Blog Entry

What-to-know conference previews: Atlantic Sun

Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:13 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 9:24 am
 
Belmont was the Atlantic Sun's overwhelming favorite in the preseason, and the Bruins won the league title by three games. That's good. But they just didn't get enough done in the non-league part of their schedule to ensure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins lost to Duke, Memphis and Marshall, and they split with Middle Tennessee State to finish 1-3 against the Top 50 and 2-4 against the Top 100.

So they'd better win the Atlantic Sun Tournament that starts Wednesday.

Otherwise, they're likely headed to the NIT.

The only Atlantic Sun schools to beat Belmont this season were USC-Upstate and Lipscomb. Both are on the other side of the bracket here, meaning the Bruins won't deal with either until a presumed title game. Still, Mercer is the No. 2 seed. The Bears are led by Langston Hall, who had 13 points in Saturday's 62-61 loss to Belmont. Put another way, Mercer nearly clipped Belmont three days ago. So while the Bruins are the favorite, they're clearly vulnerable and need Kerron Johnson to play big this week to avoid an upset that'll have Rick Byrd sweating on Selection Sunday.

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TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: Feb. 29-March 3
Title game:
Saturday

BEST PLAYERS

  1. Ian Clark, Belmont
  2. Torrey Craig, USC-Upstate
  3. Langston Hall, Mercer
  4. Drew Hanien, Belmont
  5. Kerron Johnson, Belmont

KenPom.com rating: 16

Sagarin rating: 17

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Belmont

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances

  • Belmont: 2011
  • Campbell: 1992
  • ETSU: 2010
  • Florida Gulf Coast: Never
  • Jacksonville: 1986
  • Kennesaw State: Never
  • Lipscomb: Never
  • Mercer: 1985
  • North Florida: Never
  • Stetson: Never
  • UC-Upstate: Never

-- Gary Parrish

Category: NCAAB
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